The Steamship Authority is getting a big bump from the state. A $50 million bump, in fact.
Massachusetts Governor Maura Healy on Wednesday signed the Commonwealth’s fiscal year 2024 budget, which includes a $50 million increase to the Steamship Authority’s bonding limit.
It represents a 50 percent increase to the Steamship’s existing bonding capacity, bringing it up to $150 million. The Steamship asserted the borrowing will be necessary to fund ongoing and future capital projects, including the ongoing replacements of its aging fleet of freight vessels, as well the potential conversion of its existing diesel propulsion systems to hybrid propulsion technologies.
“As a self-funded public agency, increasing the bond limit is a crucial step in being able to undertake several pending and planned capital projects,” said Steamship Authority general manager Robert B. Davis.
The Steamship’s bonding capacity was previously raised from $75 million to $100 million back in 2014 by the state legislature. Since then, the Steamship stated, the Consumer Price Index has risen approximately 26 percent. While the Steamship has unused bonding capacity, it does not believe that capacity will be sufficient for anticipated projects until additional debt payments are made over the next several years.
“On behalf of the Steamship Authority, its port communities, and the members of its Board and Port Council, I thank our legislative delegation for their support in this effort, including State Sens. Julian Cyr and Susan Moran and Reps. Dylan Fernandes and Kip Diggs, as well as the entire Cape and Islands delegation,” said Steamship Authority board chair and Nantucket representative Rob Ranney.